Return to Blog Homepage

How to Build a 7-Week Dedicated USMLE Study Schedule

  • by Erica Forrette
  • Apr 28, 2017

We show how to organize a study schedule for your 7-week dedicated study period in preparation for Step 1.

At Cram Fighter, our stats show that June is the most popular month for our customers to take Step 1. Whether you are just starting to study or entering your dedicated study period, you may be thinking about how to best organize your resources and build a comprehensive study plan to prepare you to ace Step 1.

Sign up


Inspired by the story of one successful Cram Fighter user’s schedule (for more, see Surviving the USMLE Step 1 in Just 7 Weeks), we have created a detailed sample schedule that follows his advice. For an excel or pdf version of this schedule, as well as 8-Week and 12-Week sample schedules, click here.

This 7-week study schedule makes use of the following strategies.

1. Create three study blocks of descending lengths.

Your first block will be 4 weeks. Your second will be 2 weeks. And your last will be 1 week long. Structure each block around passes through First Aid. In each study block, you will work on daily UWorld questions. You will start out by working about 10 hours a day for your first study block, going through roughly 25 pages of First Aid each day. You will also supplement First Aid with Pathoma lectures, watched at a higher speed than usual.

Your second study block will take your through First Aid again, this time at a faster pace. Keep track of which subjects give you trouble. You will revisit these subjects when you strategically review key parts of First Aid in your last study block.

2. Take three practice exams.

Take a CBSSA before you begin your 4-week study block. Use your results to decide which subject to study first, usually your weakest subject. Take another practice exam halfway through your first study block, and another right before you begin your 2-week study block. This time, use a UWorld self-assessment.

3. Set aside one full week for review.

Use the information from your self-assessments and from doing UWorld questions to choose your weak subjects. Review these daily during your last week before Step 1. Increase the number of daily UWorld questions, but leave yourself time to test your recall of material from First Aid that may need reinforcement before Step 1.

Download the complete 7-week schedule here.

It’s a tight schedule, but it’s not impossible to prepare yourself for Step 1 in 7 weeks. Use catch-up days and Cram Fighter’s rebalance feature to stay on track. In 7 weeks, you’ll have enough tasks under your belt to walk into that exam center and crush Step 1. Good luck!

About the Author

Erica Forrette is the former Director of Marketing at Cram Fighter.